Ballot initiatives to limit state government withdrawn from by backers

Associated Press

Backers of two ballot initiatives aimed at limiting government say they're withdrawing the petitions and will try to achieve their goals through a law change by the 2009 Nevada Legislature.

Kris Munn of Nevadans for Clean and Open Government said lawsuits brought by a union-backed group created delays that would have made it difficult to get the measures on the November ballot.

One of the initiatives would have put restrictions on government contracts, while the other was to ban taxpayer money being used to hire lobbyists for governments.

The Clean and Open Government Amendment would have prohibited recipients of sole-source government contracts from making political contributions, which the group said would prevent the appearance of tax dollars being doled out to political donors.

The Tax Backed Lobbying Ban would have prohibited government entities from hiring lobbyists to represent them, which the group said would prevent governments from pursuing an agenda not approved by voters.

Nevadans for Nevada, a group backed by the state AFL-CIO, had sued to block the two initiatives, charging that their stated purpose was a ruse and that they were really anti-union measures in disguise.

One of the initiatives would have prevented unions from taking member dues from paychecks, while the other was defined in a manner that would bar public employee unions from making political contributions.

The unions' legal challenge charged that the initiatives violated the rule that ballot questions address only one subject, misled petition signers in the way they were described and were likely to be found unconstitutional if enacted.


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